Our Movie, their party
Keanu and crew fail to give Sydney the status it deserves, Christine Sams writes.
They had Keanu Reeves, we got Mikey Robins. They had Carrie-Anne Moss, we got Chelsea Gibb. It would be so nice to pretend the Sydney premiere of The Matrix Reloaded was as glamorous as the Los Angeles event, but let's face it: Sydney was ignored by the stars of the film.
Obviously Hollywood actors can't make it to every corner of the globe for red-carpet premieres. But Sydney is the face of The Matrix films, the creative hub for the sci-fi trilogy, the actors' home away from home.
Hundreds of Australians worked on the film, but thousands more wished Reeves, Fishburne and Moss would have come back to say thanks.
Over in Los Angeles the stars were treated to a lavish party with bright green cocktails served up by waiters dressed as Agent Smith.
The walls were patterned with Matrix coding, and stars ranging from Demi Moore to Monica Bellucci strutted their stuff on the red carpet.
In Sydney, hundreds attended the premiere at Hoyts Fox Studios, but the red carpet was strangely devoid of A-list stars.
After the Fox Studios screening, there was no after-party, no big bash designed to celebrate Australia's involvement in the film. Moviegoers were handed a food box and a beer (or champagne) on their way into the cinema. The audience was treated to a taped message from Reeves, Fishburne, Moss and the other American stars of the film, taped at Warner Bros Studios in Los Angeles.
"Three cheers for the Sydney mob," said Fishburne, but there were no hip hip hoorays from the local crowd. The Americans also enthusiastically thanked a man called "Brownie". (They were paying tribute to Ray Brown, the key grip on the film.) But hundreds of other crew members probably wondered why they couldn't share a few cocktails with the stars of the project.
Of course, there was celebration among local actors who appeared in the film, and deservedly so. The range of local faces up on the big screen was a wonderful reminder of the local involvement in the film. Actors including Josephine Byrne, Robyn Nevin, Steve Bastoni and Tory Mussett make an appearance in the sequel. "I'm so thrilled to be here," said Byrne. "All the cast and crew on the film were delightful, and it was so fascinating working with [directors] the Wachowskis."
Byrne provided a curious insight into the working relationship between the two reclusive brothers: "They mainly worked with each other using a series of grunts, but they would completely understand each other," she said.
Others who had nothing to do with the filming of The Matrix Reloaded said they were proud of Sydney's role in the making of the trilogy.
"I watched the first film in New York, and felt so proud to recognise parts of Sydney," said entertainer David Campbell. "It's also a good feeling second time around, knowing the film was made here."
Exactly - and it would have been great to hear that from Keanu Reeves in person. Maybe in November for The Matrix Revolutions. We won't hold our breath.
May 19 2003 The Sun-Herald, Sydney